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Is Government Intervention the Answer?


August 25, 2010

The Economist is asking its readers to weigh in on whether the government should step in to protect individuals' privacy on the Internet. Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Jim Harper of the Cato Institute provide opposing views on the issue. Rotenberg writes in support of privacy laws and regulations tailored specifically to the Internet, while Harper suggests that individual privacy preferences mean that a "state-mandated, one-size-fits-all" plan would be worse than the privacy regulations currently in place. Rotenberg writes of the need for "government agencies charged with consumer protection, privacy protection and antitrust review to play a more active role on behalf of Internet users." Harper, however, suggests, "The better alternative is to get people educated and involved in their own privacy protection."
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